Record-breaking July 4th holiday travel period reported at Charleston International Airport

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Passenger numbers skyrocketed in what officials said was a record-breaking July 4th holiday travel period at Charleston International Airport.

“So many people in here. I’ve never seen this many people,” said Cortney Tranovich who was flying to Pennsylvania from CHS on Monday evening.

Airport officials said nearly 117,000 travelers passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at CHS from June 27th-July 7th – a 12% increase from the same time last year.

“It’s really getting busy at the airports these days and over the holiday and we decided to wait until today to avoid some of the record-breaking counts that they’ve had,” Lowcountry native, Paul Grizzle told News 2.

Paul and his wife, Ann Grizzle, said they opted for a post-holiday trip to beat the crowds.

“Things are so different since the pandemic. Before, I’d allow 45 minutes. Now its two hours, three hours I allow in between my stops,” Ann shared.

The spike in Independence Day air travel in 2024 mirrored a national trend. According to CHS officials, TSA screened over 3 million people at U.S. airports on Sunday which is the most people ever in a single day.

“It’s very exciting because it just proves to us that, you know, we’re on the right track. That travel is back,” CHS Deputy Executive Director and Chief Communications Officer Spencer Pryor said of the high numbers in Charleston.

July 7th turned out to be busiest day of the bunch locally with officials reporting 13,366 passengers at CHS that day.

According to Pryor, they’re looking at up to $1 billion worth of improvements at the airport over the next five to seven years to keep up with the demand. He said they are already in the design phase of a new 5,400-space parking garage.

“We’ll go into adding, potentially, what we call a west gate, where we will probably have about four to five additional west gates there. Then we’ll move back inside. We’ll do some ticketing hall expansion, the TSA checkpoint area expansion, we’ll do an east gate addition as well,” Pryor explained. “And then the bigger picture of it would be a full Concourse-C that will come on.”

Pryor pointed to a combination of factors leading to the record-breaking numbers this year including lower airfares and an increase in nonstop destinations.

Last year’s July 4th travel period took place from June 29th-July 9th and had over 104,000 passengers, according to officials.